Investors looking for something of a safe haven in the COVID-19 storm might like BioMarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN 0.67%). While most stocks have languished in 2020, the biotech's shares are up 12% so far this year.

BioMarin could pick up even more momentum now. The company announced its first-quarter results after the market closed on Wednesday. Here are the highlights from BioMarin's Q1 update.


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By the numbers

BioMarin announced Q1 revenue of $502.1 million, a 25% jump from the $400.7 million reported in the same quarter of 2019. This result also handily beat the average analysts' revenue estimate of $468.8 million.

The company reported net income in the first quarter of $81.4 million, or $0.44 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This marked a significant improvement from the prior-year period when BioMarin posted a GAAP net loss of $56.5 million, or $0.32 per share.

BioMarin's adjusted net income in the first quarter totaled $116.5 million. This translated to adjusted earnings of $0.62 per share based on the biotech's weighted average of its outstanding diluted common shares. The company's adjusted earnings per share (EPS) trounced the consensus Wall Street estimate of $0.05 per share.

Behind the numbers

BioMarin currently has six approved products on the market. All of them delivered solid sales growth in the first quarter.

Naglazyme ranks as the biotech's top-selling product. Sales for the drug, which treats rare genetic enzyme disorder mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS VI), jumped 32% year over year in Q1 to $27.4 million, with growth driven primarily in Russia and Brazil.

The company's real rising stars, though, were two other enzyme replacement therapies targeting rare genetic diseases. Sales for Palynziq skyrocketed 181% year over year to $22.3 million. Sales for Brineura soared 97% higher to $24 million.

BioMarin's three other drugs also performed well in Q1. Sales for rare-disease drug Kuvan totaled $15.1 million, up 14% from the prior-year period. Vimizim, which is approved for treating rare genetic disease Morquio A, generated sales of $11.4 million, a 9% year-over-year increase. Sales for Aldurazyme, which treats Hurler and Hurler-Scheie forms of rare genetic disease mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I), came in at $10.4 million, up 23% year over year.

This sales growth served as the primary driver of BioMarin's improving bottom line. The company also benefited from a $59.5 million gain from the sale of its Firdapse business as well as a decline in research and development costs.

Looking ahead

There was good news and bad news with BioMarin's full-year 2020 outlook. The company lowered its full-year revenue outlook due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. BioMarin now expects full-year revenue will be between $1.85 billion and $1.95 billion compared to its previous guidance of $1.95 billion to $2.05 billion.

However, the drugmaker still expects GAAP net income between $20 million and $80 million, with non-GAAP earnings between $26 million and $31 million. Notably, BioMarin appears to be on track to achieve its first year of profitability on a GAAP basis -- an important milestone for any company.

While the ongoing COVID-19 crisis could continue to disrupt patients being treated with BioMarin's existing drugs, the biotech stock should have several catalysts that could propel its stock higher this year. BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime even said that "2020 is expected to be a transformational year" for the company.

He particularly singled out the company's anticipated FDA approval of gene therapy valoctocogene roxaparvovec in treating severe hemophilia A. The FDA is set to make its approval decision by Aug. 21, 2020. Bienaime said that BioMarin's team is preparing to launch the drug later this year and believes that it will be "the most innovative product yet for people with bleeding disorders."